First year home-2009

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This is the story of our first year back in America, other installments can be found here:

https://lynzrealcooking.com/first-year-home-2/first-year-home/

https://lynzrealcooking.com/first-year-home-2/first-year-home-2009/

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/11/16/first-year-2009-our-story/

 

Idaho 2009

A sharp buzzing pressed in my ear waking me from a restless sleep. It was time to rouse one of the girls, spoon coffee into a filter and pour a pot of water into the reservoir.  Thoughts of school and the day before held a nagging place in my gutt. The sad little figure that lay sprawled in the grass amongst students and helpers remained fixed in my memory. I had overlooked the possibility that this was my youngest child and instead a mask of denial coated my brain leaving it in an unrealistic fog. But after his sister sat beside him taking her place in a stance of not so much concern but possibly comfort, it was clear that things would not be as easy as I had hoped. My focus turned to the thought that there were only two more weeks of the paper route and then a new routine would take shape; no more nights spent wrapping bundles, sorting orders and jumping out to deliver to each and every home. Cooking for the co-op, cleaning once a week at a building and the odd sub job assured me that we could keep afloat and each time mom and dad visited they unloaded boxes of bread, croissants, peanut butter, canned vegetables and chicken, candy, school snacks and staples. Provisions were hauled into the apartment, stacked on the kitchen floor and put into cupboards. I watched as hot coffee dripped into the carafe and pushed away the idea that I was truly at fault but still I couldn’t help but wonder if leaving Saudi was for the best. I heard his words ring through my ears triggering shooting pangs of guilt to my core. “You are torturing me and the children with your stubborn and unhappy ways, you have become one of those women that I hate”

 

First year back home 2009-our story

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I edged closer to the tiny parking spot that stood above Frat row. It was a cement slab just big enough to accomodate a large vehicle but still unnerved me each time I navigated onto the platform.  Plastic bags were grabbed in batches and hauled over the rugged path and into the door of the old brick building. It was grocery day and that meant unloading and preparing a “fast food” meal including plenty of variety for those with dietary restrictions. I stuffed bags inside of each other forming a large ball of sacks that would be used for trash bags at a later time. Several packs of ground beef were placed into a large skillet and stirred, smashing them into smaller bits. The familiar sound of sizzling and the smell of taco meat would soon bring girls into the kitchen. Soos, Heme and Deeja made themselves busy with coloring books and crayons, cards and stickers. They placed themselves at a wooden table just outside the kitchen where residents would soon sit after dishing up their last meal for the day. Sullen faces stared blankly at my workstation and I knew that our discussion regarding school had still left them confused and fearful.

That day we had walked through the rickety wooden gate and into the school yard that lead to a side door. I kissed each one goodbye and delivered them to their respective classrooms, leaving my youngest for last. We had been to see the teacher days before and although she was inexperienced, she was also bubbly, kind and understanding. I was sure that everything would go as planned and so I walked with an air of confidence and pride.  We reached a brightly colored door that said Welcome to first grade. Other students sat at standard desks and tables, hanging hoodies and jackets on a coat rack, backpacks were shoved into cubbies and parents waved their goodbyes. The teacher nodded her head as if to tell me that it would be fine and it was time to leave. I gave a quick wave and returned the same way I had entered, leaving the wooden gate and parking lot behind.

From the upstairs window I scanned the school playground hoping to catch a glimpse of at least one of my four children. The recess bell rang and with it a massive exit from the side door of the one story school. Children carried balls and toys and quickly started in with their mid day break from books and lessons. A tiny figure stood alone in the large grass area, a hood tightly wrapped around the shiny hair of what appeared to be a small child. A stark contrast became unsettling as he crouched near the brightly colored playground equipment looking from side to side and finally giving in to tears. Classmates ran, laughing and giving chase, engaging in childish games that only youngsters play. Their smiles and shrieks of glee only heightened as activities progressed into throwing, catching and eventually climbing onto a metal structure. I watched him cover his face, firmly placing it into the school yard grass until a familiar figure with dark brown hair placed herself next to him and gave him the company he longed for.

The brave


He stood in front of the mirror shaping his hair into the style he had become accustomed to. The blue backpack that had been purchased in fifth grade still looked almost new, he carefully placed a binder inside and stacked his lunch on top. “Goodbye mom, love you, keep your phone on high” and with that he walked down the steps and to the bus stop, leaving me with a warm feeling of affirmation.

His little hands clasped my purse and the standard words were spoken, “You won’t leave right mom, you will be right here, promise?” I smiled and hugged him issuing the words that had become well known to us both, nodding and motioning for him to join his class as they filed down the hall. He stood as he had each day, unable to leave my side until I spoke the words in exact order, with a resounding and unshakable tone “I will not leave this spot, I would never lie to you, I love you” and with that he reluctantly fell into line.

I took my place along the wall, each day inching further away, hoping that it would not prompt a negative response and push us back to where we had started. Progress was slow but at least he was sitting at a desk, only leaving class every hour to make sure I kept my solemn vow. The teacher peered out with a curious look as I took my seat, tucking my purse to the side.

In the four years since our arrival there had been several attempts made at getting him into school and each time the result had been the same. An overwhelming shame and guilt followed me and eroded an already shaky resolve that told me I was justified in moving back home.  I questioned my abilities as a mother as I watched my children struggle with things that seemed basic to other students. His words rang clearly in my ears and were a reminder of my failures, “Lynn, you don’t know how to raise a family”.

The principal walked past and nodded, stopping to make a few light hearted jokes about my daily presence and the incessant nature of my journey. I laughed awkwardly repositioning myself closer to the wall, trying to ignore the sound of scraping from the plastic chair. A dull silence fell around me as she swished away, stopping to instruct both students and aids. Her no nonsense demeanor unnerved me until she turned and offered a soft grin, a silent reminder of her commitment to our arrangement.

It seemed as if nothing had changed and each small step forward was met with resistance and complications. The house had fallen into chaos or at least it seemed that way as I sat for hours thinking of all the things that had to be done.

Days became weeks, well-meaning suggestions and advice were offered. I was told to just leave, he would get over it, to take a stand and make my move. I knew a shaky trust was on the line and so my position remained immovable. I was asked to help out in various classrooms, to serve lunch and sharpen pencils. A steady trickle of hope eeked its way out with any small but significant advance until I found myself outside on a bench, and then in the car.

Almost three months had passed when he suggested that I go home and make lunch, maybe I could return at recess. I held my breath and tried not to look back.